Join TexasGunTalk

Used 4-wheeler - assessing / determining a value before buying

Discussion in 'Automotive / Motorcycle Chat' started by Glockster69, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. Glockster69

    Glockster69 TGT Addict BANNED!!!

    Jul 1, 2011
    I've had boats, dirt bikes, street bikes, and raced dirt gokarts for a while but I've never owned a 4-wheeler. I'm no mechanic / tuner but I'm certainly not afraid to turn a wrench to get something running so I'm asking for your help appraising / valuing a 4-wheeler. I have not yet seen the subject ATV and, it has sat idle for years, I believe he said 6.

    2004 Kawasaki Prairie 400
    Full time 4x4
    Owner (co-worker) is asking $500

    Here are the issues he said need attention, in his words:
    needs new carburetor
    needs battery
    needs seat (cover torn)
    brakes have seized

    Also, he specifically mentioned floating it through water. I asked if it had a snorkel on it and he replied he removed it. Other than a good tire kicking session and based on the previous information, here are the couple questions I have for him:

    Is/has the motor ever been seized?
    Is/has there ever been water in the transmission/transfer case?

    I just learned he wants to sell this afternoon and haven't done any research yet. I need a little help so:
    Is this model known to have any major failures?
    What other questions would you ask?
    What should I be wary of?


  2. shooterfpga

    shooterfpga TGT Addict

    Jul 24, 2011
    Conroe, TX
    With him floating it id be wary that he didnt have it sealed/vented/snorkeled and thats why its been sitting. Im not familiar with that model and im sure youve googled already.

    Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2
  3. Dawico

    Dawico Uncoiled Lifetime Member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Lampasas, Texas
    After sitting for 6 years I bet it needs much more than just those items.
  4. TreyG-20

    TreyG-20 TGT Addict

    Dec 16, 2011
    Yeah sounds like something happened to it. If its sat for 6 then It was only 3 years old when It was parked. We have a few 4 wheelers at our ranch that are older and are still running strong with very little maintenance. That said if that is all it needs then it would be a good deal if you can get all your parts for under $500. If you do the labor and fixed it up I have seen Similar years models as describe go for well over 2k.

    Sounds like a gamble and how much you are willing to put into it. See if you can haul it over to a shop and have it checked out before you buy. At least bring a battery and hook it up to see if it will turn over. Then you know it's not locked up.
  5. TexMex247

    TexMex247 Well-Known TGT Supporter

    May 11, 2009
    Leander(NW Austin)
    Water entering the engine, etc. should be your main concern. Small engine carbs are generally CV type and easily serviceable. It may need a float, jets ,etc, but replacement would be unusual for a carb that is under 10 years old. The best way to determine the extent of water damage would be to inspect fluids and remove the spark plug. There should be no rust or fluids on the plug itself and when water mixes with engine or gear oil, it becomes frothy and looks like chocolate milk.

    If the gearbox or engine have sat with water in them, you are buying a boat anchor. Kawasaki parts are pretty high end and there will be no cheap solution for fixing rusted/corroded bearings in the engine or gearbox or diff. The frozen brakes are also not gonna be a cheap fix. I doubt they sell caliper rebuild kits. Rotors, pads and calipers for that thing probably approach $300-400.

    The powersports market has struggled for years now, so I bet you could find a good deal on a running machine if you are patient.
  6. Glockster69

    Glockster69 TGT Addict BANNED!!!

    Jul 1, 2011
    I have champagne taste and .... stale beer budget :(

    I understand (and appreciate) everything y'all have said. There may well be more problems than he mentioned and that could be because he hasn't used it.

    He strikes me as a descent, honest guy however, I could be wrong. More replies would be great.
  7. T-FAST

    T-FAST Well-Known

    Mar 9, 2011
    San Antonio, TX
    Save your money and buy a mechanically sound ATV for 1500-2000. Sounds like this ATV is gonna be a headache.
  8. Dawico

    Dawico Uncoiled Lifetime Member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Lampasas, Texas
    If it is locked up then don't touch it.

    The rest depends on how good you are with a wrench and how badly you want a project.
  9. robertc1216

    robertc1216 Active Member TGT Supporter

    Mar 8, 2011
    If its been in some kind of storage it might be worth it. But if its been out in the weather, walk away.
  10. Glockster69

    Glockster69 TGT Addict BANNED!!!

    Jul 1, 2011
    I think he said it was parked when the babies started coming. ;)

    I have not found a 2004 Prairie 400, only a 360 which causes question of any parts searching I do. What gives?

    According to his email, motor was never seized and no water in the tranny.

    Is that a 6 or 12V electrical system? Can I jump start it from the truck?

    Judging by the last picture, it looks like it may have been somewhat protected from the elements. No telling if he had a tarp over it too.




    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013

Share This Page